Gas prices spiral as chaos emerges

Over the past few months, gas prices have increased at a faster rate than ever before. The price for gas in the United States has gone up to $4 per gallon, breaking a record previously set in 2008 during the Great Recession. Adjusted for inflation, prices for gas during the recession were around $5.37 per gallon, an amount that the country is rapidly approaching. From a citizen’s perspective, this sudden surge in gas prices seems to be all but slowing down; for the time being, these prices will continue to soar past expectations. 

As of April 2022, gas prices are at a significantly higher level than in the pandemic peak. It was only a few weeks ago that Texas gas prices broke the record previously set by the recession of 2008, reaching an astounding $4 per gallon within the state and $4.32 on average in the U.S. Even at a high price already, it has continued to climb as the weeks pass by. With anger and confusion, American drivers are struggling to understand the rising cost of gas and what exactly is causing it. 

Since the start of the pandemic, the world has been engulfed with chaos on all different levels. When COVID-19 first splashed across the U.S. in January of 2020, gas prices actually dropped thanks to widespread lockdowns and the minimal number of cars traveling on a daily basis. In general, the pandemic had caused worldwide supply chains to stall, which ultimately kept gas and oil prices at a low rate. Regardless, as restrictions loosened and people resumed their normal lives, the prices began to slowly rise. 

When president Joe Biden was elected, he was immediately confronted with a disordered situation. All while Democrat and Republican supporters were practically at war in social media and real life, COVID-19 cases continued to rise. To meet the financial needs of those unable to work due to lockdowns, Biden began administering stimulus checks with a maximum of $1,400. While it is not exactly certain what boosted present-day inflation, many speculate that the stimulus checks being distributed to millions of people sparked an increase in prices; compared to 2021, inflation grew by approximately 7.5% by January 2022. 

While the U.S. is already dealing with inflation and altering prices, other factors are contributing to this sudden rise of gasoline cost. As Russia continues to invade Ukraine, the prices will surge with the takeover, as said by CNBC. This is primarily due to Biden’s decision to ban all imports of Russian oil, gas and coal in an attempt to show full support to Ukrainians while avoiding full involvement in the war. Furthermore, the United Kingdom has made a promise to phase out Russian oil imports by the end of 2022, a move that only adds to the inflation chaos around the globe. Considering that Russia is one of the largest oil-producing countries in the world, these converging bans from the U.S. and the UK have greatly impacted the economy and ultimately boosted the cost to fill up a car. 

 Big petroleum products such as Shell and BP have also announced that they will stop business with Russia indefinitely, adding to the chaos of changing prices. With numerous factors impacting gasoline levels, it will be some time until we see the current levels backtrack to their original value. As the summer approaches, U.S. citizens should unfortunately anticipate a continual inflation and immoderate gas prices.